Buchanan discusses need to find cure for citrus greening

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) spoke out last week about the damaging citrus greening epidemic that is spreading throughout his home state, and the ever-growing need to provide funds to research the disease and develop a cure.

His statement came hours after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it was authorizing an additional $30 million to fight the deadly bacterial disease, which continues to destroy fruit trees and wreak havoc throughout the citrus industry.

“Finding a cure for citrus greening is essential to maintaining a strong economy and protecting jobs right here in southwest Florida,” Buchanan said. “These funds represent a crucial step forward in our fight to eliminate this pervasive disease.”

Citrus greening is spread by insects and first appeared in Miami-Dade County in 2005. It causes smaller, mishapen, bitter fruit and ultimately can kill citrus trees. 

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida recently reported that citrus greening, which has been found in each of the 32 Florida counties that produce citrus fruits, is crippling the state’s economy. It is estimated that in the past eight years the disease has cost the industry nearly $8 billion and more than 7,500 jobs.